Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
In Good Hands Wall Street Veteran Krish Venkataraman Embraces the New Role of the CFO in Helping Drive Syncsort’s Big Data and Mainframe Software Success Story.
It Makes Sense
Anthony Olivier, Founder/CEO of MadCap Software, Inc. provides us with a fascinating insight into this dynamic and innovative software firm and explains how it has become a leader in the Technical Communication market.
We got in touch with Eric Dugan, 3D Capital management LLC (“3D”) to find out how he looks across markets in unexpected ways and develops a global opinion about factors that move the SP 500.
We speak to Martin Collingwood of Andrew Jackson Solicitors about his role in the firm and obtain a unique insight into the mediation sector in the UK at present.
Calamos Investments provide us with an overview of their work and investment philosophy.
We spoke to Amin Amiri, Founder and CEO of a2e Venture Catalysts.
A Sound Investment
Kevin Griffin of MGG Investment Group LP provides us with a unique insight into the firm’s work providingfinancing solutions to mid-size and growing companies
W&f Saving Lives
We profile Aqua Sciences, Inc. CEO Abe Sher and how his dedication to the firm has led to their success.
A Little Gem
We speak to Zafiro Capital, a commodities investment manager based in Geneva Switzerland.
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financial strength, it is crucial
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nowadays to a great extent
Also, the latter is stored in German and Swiss servers in
globalised, in that many
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international companies have
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subsidiaries there. Moreover,
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the national legislator has
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About the Company
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often underestimated or even forgotten. In this context, Drooms’
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Welcome to the December Issue of Wealth & Finance. Welcome to the December issue of Wealth and Finance Magazine. As alternative investments become a hot topic in the finance industry, we profile leading alternatives firm Calamos Investments, and explore how they are helping investors to create a diversified portfolio. Within diversified portfolios many investors are turning towards previously overlooked asset classes, such as private debt. Gregory Racz, Investment Manager for MGG’s private debt fund provides us with an insight into this emerging sector. Technology is an ever evolving issue within the finance industry. As new providers stream into the market we focus on industry leader MadCap Software and the role they play in the industry. Business leader’s often have to work tirelessly to steer their business to success, battling fierce competition and external issues to take their company to the top. This month’s CEO focus is on Abe Sher from Aqua Sciences, an innovative firm specialising in unique water purifying solutions. CFO’s are the right hand of any good business leader, and provide invaluable support and advice. Our CFO of the month Krish Venkataraman talks us through how he has helped drive Syncsort, the Big Data specialists, to their present success. We hope you enjoy this issue.
Contents 4. News
8. Private Debt Fund Manager of the Year – USA - MGG Investment Group LP 10. CEO of the Month: Abe Sher 12. CFO of the Month: Krish Venkataraman 14. Trading Advisor of the Month: 3D Capital Management 18. Mediator of the Month: Andrew Jackson Solicitors 20. Asset Manager of the Month: Calamos Investments 24. Arbitrator of the Month: Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo 26. 2015’s Most Influential Business Leaders: MadCap Software, Inc. 30. Ones to Watch 2016: Simon-Kucher & Partners 32. Commodities Investment Manager of the Month: Zafiro Capital 36. Growth in UK M&A Appetite – a Risky Business 38. Hedge Fund Manager of the Year - UK - The Macro Currency Group (MCG) 40. Private Equity Fund Manager of the Month - a2e Venture Catalysts Ltd
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015 News
Daman Investments Moves into Sports Apps Investment accelerates growth for leading global sports app with Daman strategically committed to future growth capital Sportlobster, a leading sports app that brings fans together, has secured £2m from leading UAE-based investment company, Daman Investments.
The investment by Daman Investments will be used to accelerate and support Sportlobster’s latest products and strategic developments from its London-based HQ.
“Sportlobster is in strong growth mode at the moment and this is certainly a reflection of our investment into - and focus on - the product, particularly this year. Our latest funding allows us to further accelerate our competitive lead in a number of ways.” said the company’s CEO and co-founder, Andy Meikle. “Daman sees Sportlobster as an innovative concept and the product is unmatched. This raise and Daman’s continued support will allow us to execute our global strategy.”
The company which is backed by sporting celebrities including Michael Owen has already recorded a user base of 2.2 million sport fans across the globe. The company is witnessing a strong growth in the number of active users which is now increasing month on month by 60%. Andy Meikle continues: “As a multi-functional sports app, serving multiple sports, engagement levels are high across the platform, be it through making predictions before events begin, chatting during games with other fans or making use of the blogging functionality. From a commercial perspective, there are multiple ways in which we will generate revenue across the entire platform which will complement the user’s experience and that starts here in the UK working with some of the UK’s biggest gaming companies.”
Sportlobster’s new product offering and strategy for growth attracted Daman to not only inject capital upfront but use its corporate finance arm to raise future funding. “We value innovative businesses that provide technology solutions for consumer needs. Sportlobster has a phenomenal team and provides an excellent social platform for a large market of sports fans across the globe.” said Shehab Gargash, Founder and Chairman of Daman Investments.
Sportlobster has appointed Daman Investments as the advisor for future rounds of capital raising. “We are really excited to be part this journey and believe that Sportlobster can become the leading social media platform to cater to over 1.2 billion sport fans across the globe” said Sumit Mehta, Head of Deal Structuring & Advisory at Daman Investments.
BlueCrest to Become Private Investment Partnership BlueCrest Capital Management Limited “BlueCrest” announces it will, over the next several months, transition to a Private Investment Partnership, and will return to its clients the $8 billion it currently manages on their behalf.
Following the transition, BlueCrest will manage assets solely on behalf of its partners and employees.
BlueCrest’s existing partner fund, BSMA, will continue to hold assets managed in the fixed income, currency and credit trading strategies, and the BlueCrest Equity Strategies Fund and the BlueCrest Emerging Markets Fund will be retained as the vehicles through which partners and employees invest in equity market and emerging market trading strategies respectively. All other funds, including BlueCrest Capital International, and the AllBlue Fund, are expected to close during 2016.
It will continue to trade all current major strategies and retain all the firm’s offices around the world and anticipates strong growth in employees and AUM over the next several years under the new business model. During its 15 year history, BlueCrest has delivered trading profits of over $22bn for its investors, and has won numerous industry awards for excellence. It has built an industry leading global team of over 250 investment professionals in nine offices operating in fixed income, currencies, emerging markets, credit and equity trading.
The process of closing the client funds has been agreed with the Boards of Directors of those funds and communications with clients as to the timetable is now taking place. Clients are expected to receive approximately 75% of their investment capital before the end of January and 90% by the end of Q1 2016. The divestment of investment portfolios will be carried out in an orderly manner, balancing the requirements for speed and value for investors.
However, ongoing secular changes in the industry, including trends in fee levels, the cost of hiring the best trading talent, and the challenges in tailoring investment products to meet the individual needs of a large number of investors, have weighed on hedge fund profitability. A Private Investment Partnership strategy of concentrating on a reduced number of funds, managed exclusively on behalf of BlueCrest’s partners and employees, will facilitate higher returns and greater profitability for the firm’s stakeholders, and give it greater flexibility to compete aggressively for trading talent.
BlueCrest’s founder and Chief Executive, Michael Platt, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank all of the investors who have entrusted money to the BlueCrest funds over the last 15 years and to wish them well in their future investment endeavours.” “We are embarking on an exciting new phase in the development of BlueCrest. We will be stronger and more flexible under our new business model, and see exciting opportunities to grow significantly in terms of numbers of trading teams and assets under management. The new model provides the opportunity to create significant value for our partners, our traders and our staff, due to a step-change in our profitability. It will also allow us to enhance further our ability to attract the highest quality investment talent in markets across the globe. We have delivered industry-leading returns to our investors over the past 15 years but believe that BlueCrest is now better suited to a Private Investment Partnership model. We have always been an industry innovator, and this transition will be no exception. We have sold and repurchased a stake in our business, we have seeded new strategies using bank loan financing, and been among the first to launch a permanent capital vehicle in the UK. We seeded and spun out BlueMountain Capital and more recently have spun out and divested of a significant stake in Systematica, a major business division. This transition, though not unique, will make us one of the largest and most diverse managers to adopt a Private Investment Partnership model.”
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015 News
Crowd Funding Takes Off Organic, fairtrade, speciality coffee company CRU Kafe seeks £300,000 investment via crowd funding platform Seedrs to support business growth.
Created by coffee enthusiasts’ entrepreneur Colin Pyle, chef John Quilter and former model and LSE Graduate, Bodil Blain in 2013, CRU Kafe challenge the ethics and sustainability of coffee giants like Nespresso by using only the best high altitude, organic and fairtrade coffee, resulting in a blend unlike any other. The unique grounds are then packaged inside ecofriendly Nespresso compatible pods and delivered direct to customers’ doors.
CRU Kafe takes a technology lead approach to business through leveraging offline and online to curate a social platform that sells coffee. Utilising video content CRU Kafe engages customers on their mobile friendly website and creates value for their monthly subscribers by offering resources that its competitors don’t, including an extensive bank of recipes. CRU Kafe currently distribute product to The UAE, Kuwait, Ireland and Norway. In the UK CRU Kafe is stocked within selected retail outlets including Harrods, Partridges, Whole Foods, Jamie Oliver’s Recipease and the Grocer (Notting Hill & Chelsea) as well as online at Ocado and grow by 15% in terms of sales month on month.
CRU Kafe was born out of a desire to have great coffee at home that was ethical and easy to make. Cofounder Colin has successfully built, scaled and lead four companies prior to cofounding CRU Kafe. He sold his first company for 5 million CAD. John, a restaurateur, has a joint venture with Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube, where he appears regularly as the Food Busker one of the fastest growing food You Tube channels in the UK. Coffee is the second largest commodity in the world and the biggest traded resource on the planet. Speciality coffee equates to 37% of volume and 50% of the revenue of this $32 billion dollar market and it’s clear to see that the continued trend, and demand, for better tasting coffee from a better coffee company presents many opportunities for CRU Kafe who was voted ‘best coffee in a capsule’ by an independent taste test led by The Sunday Times.
With a £300,000 investment CRU Kafe aim to stabilise their working capital and focus upon customer acquisition via print media and TV. The move highlights the increasing popularity of crowd funding schemes as faith in traditional lending declines.
Survey on Hedge Funds Finds Managers and Investors Hold Similar Views White paper challenges view that the two groups are far apart on rule benefits and effectiveness
Since the 2008-09 global financial crisis, regulators rolled out multiple, substantial regulations aimed at mitigating systemic risk. Over time, popular opinion has held that investors largely favor the new rules while managers of hedge funds uniformly oppose them. However, a survey from Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services reveals that investors and fund managers express surprisingly similar views on regulation. In a white paper about the survey findings, Minimizing Risk or Missing the Mark, Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services found that managers actually voiced slightly more optimism than investors about the effectiveness of the regulations adopted in the last five years. Fifty nine percent of managers said they believe at least some of the regulations implemented over the past five years have helped decrease the likelihood and severity of another financial crisis, while 53% of investors held that view. Forty percent of investors said the new rules haven’t done anything to reduce the chance of another financial calamity or its severity versus 34% of managers. “The widely held belief that investors and investment managers hold conflicting views about regulation emerged because the regulations typically fell into two camps,” said Peter Sanchez, head of Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services. “They either changed market practices to limit what market participants can do, or they demanded more disclosure as a means of managing systemic risk. Dig a little deeper, however, and you discover – as the survey did – a far more nuanced and complex picture.” At the same time, regulations vary widely both in terms of whom they affect and how they are implemented. These differences impact how market participants on both sides view them, the study indicates. Some changes are seen as providing benefits to managers and investors alike. Managers indicated they are especially concerned about the impact of new rules when they are implemented by multiple regulators. An example is central repository requirements for derivatives. Since derivatives are a complex instrument and many countries or jurisdictions have varied rules and procedures around them, these regulations can pose compliance challenges. While these regulations have the goal of limiting market risk, they can also dampen potential industry innovation.
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Private Debt Fund Manager of the Year – USA MGG provides bespoke financing solutions to mid-size and growing companies, working with owners and management teams to help build lasting value, address immediate needs, and solve complex situations. Kevin Griffin, CEO and CIO, provides us with a unique insight into the firm’s work.
MGG Investment Group was launched in 2014 by industry veteran Kevin Griffin, with the goal of providing debt capital to the deeply underserved lower- to middle-market (under $50 million EBITDA) companies, especially in situations or asset classes that deter other lenders.
MGG typically also speaks with the company’s current investors, customers, suppliers, and competitors, among others, during its diligence, and engages nationally recognized third party forensic accountants, attorneys, and industry consultants to supplement and confirm MGG’s in-house efforts, to help identify and assess risks, and to conduct thorough background checks on potential borrowers and their principals.
“Demand for capital by mid-size and small growing businesses has for decades exceeded supply, but post-financial crisis the imbalance has become much more acute,” said Mr. Griffin, who has originated, structured and invested more than $3 billion of transactions throughout his nearly two decade career. “We have a history of successfully partnering with our portfolio companies to help them grow while generating attractive risk-adjusted returns for investors through several market cycles.”
Very few companies seeking financing make it through MGG’s diligence process. MGG lends capital each year to roughly less than 3% to 5% of all potential borrowers. This investing discipline over the past nearly two decades and through many market cycles has built a strong record of trust with key industry players and companies, enabling Mr. Griffin and team to develop a unique sourcing network.
Indeed, Mr. Griffin has been working with and investing in middle market companies his entire career. After graduating from Georgetown University, Mr. Griffin started as a work-out and M&A advisor to mid-size companies with leading boutique investment bank Houlihan Lokey. Mr. Griffin began investing initially with American Capital – one of the first public business development companies – then at Fortress Investment Group’s Drawbridge lending fund. Until founding MGG, Mr. Griffin was a Managing Director and on the Credit Committee at Highbridge’s Principal Strategies senior lending group.
“I think we have earned a reputation among borrowers for getting deals done the right way and providing certainty to close,” said Mr. Griffin. “As a result, we continue to enjoy strong repeat business and word-ofmouth referrals.” MGG typically provides senior secured first lien debt financings. However, its flexible mandate enables it to provide bespoke solutions across the capital structure to meet the needs of the specific borrower. Post-investment, MGG tracks each investment closely. Throughout the life of an investment, MGG takes a “cradle to grave” approach to portfolio management, with deal teams interacting monthly if not weekly with borrowers from origination through realization. MGG’s risk-management first mentality enhances MGG’s ability to monitor assets and identify potential issues at an early stage, as well as to spot potential add-on investment opportunities.
“The opportunity has always been large for those familiar with the middle market but as many community banks have disappeared – nearly 2,000 banks have been eliminated since the financial crisis – and big banks have abandoned this space post-crisis, in part due to stricter capital rules, the opportunity has grown quite significantly,” said Mr. Griffin. “What separates us is that we bring a private equity-style due diligence skillset, which is needed to be successful in the direct lending market in which we operate.” “In particular, we favor and excel at investments in complex and special situations that require distinct underwriting,” he said.
“We take tremendous pride in serving as a trusted partner to companies and entrepreneurs to help them achieve their goals,” said Mr. Griffin. “What is exciting is that the U.S. middle market is the fifth largest global economy with hundreds of thousands of companies. As we look to the future, we see lots of opportunities to help owners and management teams, and we will continue with our current approach of selecting the most attractive private investments in order to provide our investors with the strongest possible returns.”
That is why Mr. Griffin has assembled a best-in-class team of middle-market specialists like himself whom he has worked with or known for years. Together with his partner Gregory Racz – who worked with Mr. Griffin during the financial crisis and started his career as a corporate lawyer at leading M&A law firm Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz – MGG’s seasoned team hails from blue chip lenders, banks, and accounting firms including Cerberus, TPG, Oaktree, Apollo, JP Morgan, and PwC, and has deep expertise across most industries.
Company: MGG Investment Group LP Contact Name: Gregory Racz Email: email@example.com Web Address: www.mgginv.com Address: 888 Seventh Avenue, 43rd Floor, New York, NY 10106 Telephone: 212-356-6100
“During our in-depth diligence process, we engage directly with the target company management for many weeks if not for months before lending capital,” Mr. Griffin said.
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
CEO of the Month: Abe Sher 10
Aqua Sciences, Inc. was established to develop and bring to market innovative water technologies, including proprietary atmospheric water capture and purifications systems. We profile the firm’s CEO Abe Sher and how his dedication to the firm has led to their success.
Florida-based Aqua Sciences, Inc. was formed to bring a product to market that literally extracts vast amounts of water from the atmosphere and outputs drinking water. The firm’s patented water extraction technology was developed over 15 years and with more than $25mn invested in research, development and production.
“We are introducing our line of products which produce significant amounts of “off the grid” water for disaster preparedness/relief, military and humanitarian applications. “Aqua Sciences™ draws water from naturally present moisture in the air to deliver potable water in its purest state. We tap into the largest undeveloped source of fresh water in the world - our atmosphere.
Aqua Sciences’ flagship product is the Emergency Water Station (EWS). The 40 foot model produces up to 2,600 gallons of water per day (depending on local atmospheric conditions).
“Our environmentally friendly technology makes water readily and inexpensively available in its purest form even when and where there is no operating infrastructure.
Specially designed for transport by air, sea or land in an International Standards Organization (ISO) marine container, the Aqua Sciences EWS is powered by self-contained electrical generators or external power. It is a compelling first and ongoing response solution for areas with damaged or no infrastructure throughout the world.
“Aqua Sciences™ was formed to bring its unique, life-saving and life-enhancing atmospheric water extraction and purification systems to the marketplace.”
Unlike other technologies such as refrigerant dehumidification-based systems that do not work in low humidity conditions, Aqua Sciences’ revolutionary technology extracts water from the atmosphere virtually anywhere that human beings live.
Technology such as the firm’s patented and patent pending technology makes it possible to extract vast amounts of safe drinking water from the air in almost any climate and under nearly every condition, even in the deserts.
This breakthrough technology has been independently tested and has been proven to consistently produce excellent water quality. The firm have a team of outstanding engineers bringing nearly two decades of water extraction experience to the company.
Aqua Sciences’ systems collect and dispense hundreds to thousands of gallons of water daily by capturing and processing naturally occurring water molecules from the air. All of this is done at relatively low costs and without producing harmful or toxic by-products, ensuring the safety of those the firm serves.
The core of all of the firm’s revolutionary technology is the Water Generating Module. This technological marvel can extract water from the environment in even the most extreme climates. Numerous applications and products can be derived from this technology and single modules are added to raise the water generation capabilities of any system. The applications for this technology are limited only by budget and human imagination.
Ultimately these lifesaving products have the potential to save many of the world’s poorest people from dehydration. Company: Aqua Sciences, Inc. Address: PO Box 403488 Phone: (305) 396-9090 Miami Beach, FL 33140-1488 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.aquasciences.com
As such Aqua Sciences, Inc. is poised to transform the water industry while making a positive humanitarian impact on the world’s capability to deal with crisis situations on an emergency or long-term basis. Its success will be measured not merely by the company’s profitability, but by its continuing contribution to the world’s safety, health, and quality of life. Abe explains the firm’s mission and why its revolutionary technology is so vital. “Our Mission is to provide life-sustaining drinking water to people in environments where there is not a readily available source. We have developed a revolutionary and practical scientific breakthrough that literally taps into our atmosphere as an “alternative source” of fresh drinking water.
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
CFO of the Month
Krish Venkataraman Wall Street Veteran Embraces the New Role of the CFO in Helping Drive Syncsort’s Big Data and Mainframe Software Success Story.
Wall Street veteran Krish Venkataraman is part of a new breed of CFOs who don’t just audit the books, but help drive corporate strategy at the highest levels. Today, CFOs need to know more about trends affecting their businesses, including Big Data and technology innovations that deliver economies and critical information to the business.
After joining Syncsort in 2014, Venkataraman hit the ground running, making an impact not only in traditional finance roles, but also in re-engineering the company’s operations. His leadership can be felt in every corner of the organization, from driving the sales force to be more efficient, to improving the company’s renewal process -- which is a significant revenue channel -- to leveraging his M&A experience to help guide Syncsort’s aggressive acquisition strategy.
“CFOs can’t just be number crunchers anymore,” Venkataraman said. “Technology is now driving the competitive advantage for many companies. Forward-thinking CFOs have to view technology not just as a cost center, but as a driver of innovation. In fact, they have to become champions for how Big Data and technology can deliver innovation, operational stability and efficiency.”
Prior to his role at Syncsort, Venkataraman served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer of Global Information Technology for NYSE Euronext, which was then an S&P 500 company with a market capitalization of $11bn and over $3.5bn in annual revenues, and Chief Administrative Officer of equities liquid markets for Lehman Brothers. He also has experience as a strategist for American Express’s financial advisory practice and as a mergers and acquisitions expert at Deloitte Consulting. He holds an MBA from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.
Venkataraman’s current role in the firm is as Syncsort’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer. With expertise in everything from M&A to corporate finance, investment banking, global corporate strategy, equity research, consulting, trading and exchanges, and payment systems – Venkataraman has played a crucial role at Syncsort, positioning the company for its recent purchase by Clearlake Capital group. Impressed by Syncsort’s management team and success in transforming the company from a venerable Mainframe mainstay to a formidable, global Big Data and modern Mainframe leader, Clearlake’s stated mission is to make a significant investment in accelerating Syncsort’s aggressive strategy of growth, organically and via acquisitions.
“Krish has deep strategic acumen and a 20-year track record of consistent execution, including turning cost centers into profit centers and exceeding Wall Street’s growth expectations quarter after quarter, even during a recession,” Lonne Jaffe, CEO of Syncsort, commented at the time of Venkataraman’s appointment. “His rare mix of expertise in both technology and finance will be invaluable as we build on our successes over the last year, with concentrated organic investments and acquisitions in the Big Data segment. Overall, the secret to the firm’s success is also the secret to Venkataraman’s ability to substantially contribute to that success - continually innovating and evolving as new, disruptive technologies and approaches are employed by IT organizations to enable the business to compete and grow. Looking to the future, Syncsort is keen to continue with this growth in the years to come.”
“The Company’s leadership position in both the mainframe and Big Data software segments makes it an excellent buy-and-build platform to lead consolidation in the industry, which is central to Clearlake’s investment strategy in the software sector,” stated Behdad Eghbali, Managing Partner of Clearlake, when the acquisition of Syncsort by Clearlake was announced in October.
Company:Syncsort Website: www.syncsort.com Email: email@example.com
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Trading Advisor of the Month Through the extensive global-macro trading experience of its principal Eric Dugan, 3D Capital Management LLC (“3D”) has developed a comprehensive and systematic global-macro approach of monitoring and analyzing global markets. We got in touch with Dugan to find out how he looks across markets in unexpected ways and develops a global opinion about factors that move markets.
It was over half a decade ago when Dugan formed 3D Capital Management and registered as a commodity trading advisor. He created a company that specializes in investment programs that seek to generate absolute uncorrelated returns and to consistently outperform the SP 500 in a down market, as well as seeking to preserve and accumulate wealth for their clients through all market cycles.
cific Rim trading hours. In 1999 I moved to Willowbridge where I was a portfolio manager and manager of a 24 hour trade desk. In this role, my responsibilities included trading and developing global trading strategies and products while managing a $120 million dollar portfolio. Trading the global markets provided me with a deep and thorough understanding of what moves the SP 500 and other major markets. With the expertise I acquired through these positions, I decided to go out on my own to independently develop systems and programs and began trading for myself in 2008.
With their global-macro approach to monitoring and analysing global markets, 3D’s systematic trading programs view the world as an interconnected global marketplace that exhibits identifiable dependencies and behaviours. The programs monitor the globe 24/7, and synthesize each trading day to filter noise and analyze market patterns to identify statistically significant patterns, trends and correlations among the global markets. “The programs monitor over 20 global markets,” says Dugan “Furthermore, multiple trading strategies and time horizons are employed daily to adapt to trading environments and provide diversification of a different kind. The resulting global opinion is then distilled into a singular market expression, which is used to trade exclusively in the E-mini SP futures contract.
“Throughout my career, I have spent my time trading, managing money and developing systems in the Pacific Rim, European and US markets. As a result, I recognize that the trade day does not begin with the US markets, but much earlier in the Pacific Rim, where I spent six years trading and managing money. My career spans over two decades and includes trading and developing systems in nearly every asset class and time zone in the world. This has afforded me the opportunity to have a deep and thorough understanding of what is moving the SP 500 and other global markets.
“Moreover, 3D’s signal generator and risk management are fully systematic,” Dugan added. “Stops are always in place and will vary according to volatility up or down. This intensely-focused application, almost unheard of among global-macro analysts, is the engine behind 3D’s trading programs.”
With Dugan’s wealth of experience across all markets, the aim behind 3D was to seek to preserve and accumulate wealth through all market cycles. “The 3D programs were specifically built to protect and profit from the inevitable daily stock market correction or downturn while also still being able to profit and capture daily upside moves not unlike an insurance policy that pays you. Our goal is to generate uncorrelated absolute returns and to consistently outperform the SP 500 in a down market.”
Prior to founding this company, Dugan was an accomplished investment industry professional with years of portfolio management experience involving the research and development of systematic SP 500 programs. This experience also includes the development and trading of global short-term systematic trading strategies, managing trading operations, traders, and global-macro multi-strategy trading systems.
A typical day for Dugan involves being immersed in the global markets, which begins at 6 am when he reviews daily reports. His clients, who are comprised of high net worth individuals and institutions, can review their brokerage statements on a daily basis through their own brokerage firm. In addition, 3D also generates a daily profit and loss and position reconciliation report for all of their clients, which Dugan also reviews. “Once this is done, I then assess overnight activity in the Pacific Rim and European markets and review my notes from the previous day,”
“I am fortunate to have learned from one of the best,” says Dugan. “My career began back in 1993 with Monroe Trout where I was hired as an execution trader. Within one year I was promoted to a management role where I was responsible for all trading decisions made during the Pa-
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
says Dugan. “This includes confirming economic data, earnings and other announcements scheduled for the trade day. This is followed by trading, confirming trades and positions and then preparing for the next trade day. Market permitting, during the trade day I will also do research and read about current news, events and trends in the markets.”
3D takes great pride in their work. Their consistently positive results are a testament to the standards of service they deliver. As Dugan explains: “We are particularly pleased with our Intraday trading programs,” says Dugan. “We understand the importance of adapting and evolving and since we started trading in 2008 we have gone from offering one program to now offering four programs. Our Intraday programs are generating the most interest because of the low draw-downs and no overnight risk.”
One of the fundamental factors behind Dugan’s success is that he is very passionate about the work he does, and believes that the desire to exceed and go above and beyond for their clients is part of 3D’S DNA. “We strive to perform at a high level every day and align ourselves with those that share the same view,” says Dugan. “This means being ready on every level of every day, both psychologically and physically. The markets are unrelenting and you have to be in the right state of mind and prepared to bring your A game no matter what the circumstances.
Highlights for the intraday programs include the margin requirement being typically lower than 5%, there is also no overnight exposure and the 2015 YTD Net of fees performance through November is +8.00%. Furthermore, they have been profitable in eight of the last nine down months for the SP 500 (SP), and outperformed the SP 500 90% of the time when the SP is down on the month
“Above all, we love what we do and strive to get better on a daily basis. Our culture and those we align with share the same passion, work ethic and desire to compete, succeed, and provide a service and product that is second to none. That being said, as much as we want to produce and succeed we also understand the importance of connecting with people. Communication, trust, understanding and empathy is the foundation of all relationships and we believe the combination of the aforementioned is a powerful dynamic that is imperative for success.”
“In the last two years the worst losing month for these programs were -2.38%,” added Dugan. “This includes August 20-25 of 2015 where our Intraday programs were up over 3% and the SP 500 dropped 11%. This is consistent with our performance in similar environments and our actual track records in 2008, August 2011 and the first quarter of 2014.” As a company working in an industry that is always changing 3D is striving to remain in the forefront. “The only thing constant is change” and we understand the importance of staying connected and keeping our finger on the pulse of the industry for any emerging developments,” says Dugan “This includes all aspects of the business, including trading, research, marketing, legal, accounting, execution and many more.”
A pivotal part of 3D Capital Management’s philosophy is the dedication they devote to their clients. As a result, Dugan is regularly engaged with his customers and believes that keeping a high level of communication is paramount to his company’s success. “First and foremost our priority is the client,” says Dugan. “Furthermore, we convey the importance of transparency and liquidity throughout the entire firm. As such, we welcome visits to our office and offer separately managed accounts that are held at the Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) of the client’s choice. We also emphasize that we have no lock up period and can provide live daily position and PnL reporting. Compilation reports, daily and monthly statements along with due diligence packages can also be provided.”
Looking towards 2016 and beyond, Dugan is confident that his company will continue to grow and succeed. “We plan to continue expanding our business. The SP 500 is one of the most liquid markets in the world and we don’t anticipate any liquidity constraints near term. Further growth can come from trading additional global markets.”
As a trading advisor, Dugan believes that it’s extremely important that he gets to know his clients and their goals. As Dugan outlines: “We want our clients to have a general understanding of how our programs work, including what favorable and unfavorable environments look like. Once a client entrusts us to manage their money I think it’s imperative to ensure they are 100% comfortable with their decision. We communicate monthly, and I make myself available for calls, Skype or meetings in our office. We try to ensure nothing is left to be assumed or misinterpreted, and that we are both on the same page. My decades of experience has provided me with invaluable insight and knowledge of how to manage risk and my daily responsibilities also includes implementing our programs with diligence and persistence which is imperative for our programs success.
Company: 3D Capital Management Name: Eric Dugan Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Address: www.3dcapitalmanagement.com Address: Stone Ridge NY Telephone: 609 947 0405
“When it comes to minimising risk, we understand how imperative it is to not only have strict risk parameters but to implement them with unwavering discipline and persistence. We set position limits per nominal value of an account and have daily trailing stops that will vary according to volatility. We believe this methodology has enabled us to mitigate risk without sacrificing profitability. We believe this is why our performance has been recognized by the Industry. In 2015 CTA Intelligence awarded 3D Capital “Best Specialized CTA for 2014” and we have received 14 top ten performing awards from BarclayHedge.”
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Mediator of the Month Andrew Jackson Solicitors is a full service commercial law firm based in Hull which has been trading since 1874. We speak to one of their top mediators Martin Collingwood his role in the firm and obtain a unique insight into the mediation sector in the UK at present.
Andrew Jackson Solicitors provides support in relation to corporate, commercial, IP, construction and engineering, renewables (on and offshore) energy, litigation and dispute resolution, employment, marine, logistics, property, real estate, private client and family areas of work.
Within Andrew Jackson Solicitors we have a firm wide mediation group which we are developing into a unique offering for clients. I am one of a number of civil and commercial mediators within the firm and the firm also has an active family mediation offering which is well respected in the area. In addition, the firm supports a local group of mediators, The Hull & Humber Mediation Group, which I have had the privilege of founding and chairing. The group was formed to develop and promote mediation in the Hull and Humber area and was a collaboration between a number of mediators in local firms and independent mediators.
My role as Head of Construction means that alongside having a specific construction related client base I also work in support of a number of projects working together with my corporate, real estate and property colleagues. My bespoke construction work covers a wide range of projects and I work for a number of developer clients in terms of preparing and commenting upon project documentation as well as assisting companies in review and submission of terms and conditions of contract, tender reviews and advice identifying legal and commercial issues for both on and offshore projects. I also assist clients in pursuing claims and defending claims whether in adjudication, mediation, litigation or arbitration.
Working with the group is another means by which I give back to the mediation community as a whole, as I am a keen believer in helping others within the industry and in ADR generally+. Alongside my work with the mediation group in Hull I also work training others by giving presentations on mediation including conducting mock mediations at commercial organisations and through the University of Hull. In order to keep myself at the cutting edge of industry developments, which is vital for someone so heavily involved in training new members of the industry, I regularly attend various mediation events and subscribe to a number of online mediation resources which provide up to date information and comments on the relevance in mediation and ADR generally.
I am also a member of the firmâ€™s Renewable Energy Group having been involved in renewable energy projects of varying types (wind, wave, tidal, solar, waste to energy, anaerobic digestion) as well as main stream energy (nuclear, CGT, coal, oil and gas) for in excess of 30 years. My role in the firmâ€™s work includes advising on both contentious and non-contentious matters and I am a member of the CiArb and an accredited mediator.
Despite the increasing popularity of the service, the mediation market has seen a number of difficulties within in the UK market place at present, as well as a continuing reticence which appears to exist to using mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
My experience prior to joining Andrew Jackson has been varied and included internationally renowned contracting and civil engineering groups such as Skanska, Wimpey Group and Taylor Woodrow Construction.
Moving forward, the initiatives through HMCTS in respect of artificial intelligence and online dispute resolution will provide interesting developments in the sector, as will the developments under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in relation to ADR. These changes recognise a need to continue to be flexible and to develop as the market develops.
The majority of my career has been spent as an in-house legal adviser for a number of well-known major building and civil engineering groups working both nationally and internationally. This has given me an opportunity to be involved in overseas projects in a variety of countries around the world. In addition I have worked, briefly, in local government and also worked in other private practice positions within England and Scotland. In previous roles I have worked as a company secretary at group level and as such am familiar with corporate policies, financing, development and review.
Andrew Jackson as a firm will continue to grow our client basis nationally, regionally and internationally and I am hopeful that the firm may head towards China as a possible market in the future. Company: Andrew Jackson Solicitors Name: Martin Collingwood Email: email@example.com Website: www.andewjackson.co.uk Address: Marina Court, Castle Street, Hull. HU1 1TJ Phone: 01482 601305/ 07921 973926/07922 106107
Alongside my work in the industry I have for 15 years taught law at the University of Lincoln School of Architecture in order to pass on my knowledge. After joining Andrew Jackson Solicitors in 2008 I have been engaged in working as a mediator, becoming an accredited civil and commercial mediator in 2010. Following my accreditation I have had to deal in a wide variety of mediations including business disputes, shareholder disputes, construction and engineering, debt recovery, banking, bonding, boundary and have done a significant amount of pro-bono work through LawWorks in a variety of consumer based cases.
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Asset Manager of the Month
Calamos Investments is a diversified global investment firm offering innovative investment strategies including U.S. growth equity, global/ international, convertible, multi-asset and alternative investments. The firm provided us with an overview of their work and investment philosophy.
Calamos Investments is a global firm committed to excellence in investment management and client service. Grounded in family values, Calamos provides its associates a challenging environment with the opportunity for personal and professional growth. Since our earliest days, Calamos has structured its investment organisation to reflect the view that a highly collaborative and collegial culture produces the best insights and investment ideas. Teams are carefully structured to promote the exchange of research among many individuals. We believe that this ongoing collaboration enhances the portfolio construction decisions that each group makes, as well as our overall research culture. We emphasise long-term professional development, and we have frequently been able to promote from within. We also enhance our capabilities by hiring talented individuals at all levels of our investment organisation. Calamos is known as a pioneer in utilising convertible securities to manage risk and has retained its character as a boutique investment firm. The firm offers strategies through separately managed portfolios, mutual funds, closed-end funds, private funds, UCITS funds and an exchange traded fund. Clients include major corporations, pension funds, endowments, foundations, family offices and individuals, as well as the financial advisors and consultants who serve them. Headquartered in the Chicago metropolitan area, the firm also has offices in London, New York and San Francisco, providing a truly global service. Led by our CIO team, our investment professionals are organised as â€œteams within a team,â€? allowing us to capitalise on the diverse opportunities of the global economy in an environment of close collaboration. We believe our collegial environment enhances our ability to serve our clients and strengthens our investment organisation as a whole. Ultimately we believe our edge as an investment manager is our ability to evaluate businesses strategically by marrying top-down insights with rigorous bottom-up fundamental research. When we find a compelling opportunity, we look across a companyâ€™s capital structure to determine how to best exploit that opportunity.
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Alongside this we also believe we are better positioned to generate alpha opportunities through our willingness to construct portfolios that differ from benchmarks. By choosing a broader opportunity set and being benchmark-aware but not benchmark-driven, we believe we can add value over time relative to indexes.
Over the past year the firm has taken steps which look set to provide us with exciting growth opportunities for the years to come. In the spring of 2015, we announced the expansion of our London office capabilities, adding trading, research and portfolio management functions along with enhanced business development and relationship management.
As part of our recent evolution to a deeper and more specialised team and product platform, four senior members of the investment team became Co-Chief Investment Officers in fall of 2015. Alongside John Calamos, Sr., they oversee the investment department and their respective strategies, including investment personnel.
To support such growth, the company has relocated to office space on Threadneedle Street in the heart of the City. The expansion of our London office is yet another indication of our commitment to the global markets and investors worldwide, as we believe our unique approach to risk management well serves the needs of institutional, retail, and highnet-worth investors. Calamos Investments has been investing globally since 1988, offering a diverse set of strategies via separately managed accounts and UCITS funds.
The four new Co-Chief Investment Officers are: John Hillenbrand, CPA: Co-CIO, Head of Multi-Asset Strategies and Co-Head of Convertible Strategies; David Kalis, CFA: Co-CIO, Head of U.S. Growth Equity Strategies; Nick Niziolek, CFA: Co-CIO, Head of International and Global Strategies; and Eli Pars, CFA: Co-CIO, Head of Alternative Strategies and Co-Head of Convertible Strategies.
In September of 2015, Calamos Investments completed the acquisition of Phineus Partners LP, a global long/short manager based in San Francisco. The acquisition enhances Calamos’ product offerings and role as an innovator in the liquid alternatives space.
Our CIO team is responsible for oversight of their respective strategies’ investment team resources, investment processes, performance and risk. As heads of investment verticals, CIOs also manage investment team members and have portfolio management responsibilities for specific groups of strategies.
Founded in 2002 by Michael Grant, Phineus is a fundamentally-driven investment firm that, like Calamos, employs a blend of bottom-up and top-down considerations and has built customised portfolios for private investors, families, endowments and institutions.
Each CO - CIO oversees a team of Portfolio Managers and Research analysts. Co-portfolio managers are responsible for day-to-day portfolio oversight and construction. Research analysts provide specialised fundamental and quantitative analysis to the portfolio management teams.
Calamos Investments was impressed with the investment capabilities at Phineus and believes the acquisition will be a great addition to the Calamos investment team culture and their strategies will be an important addition to the firm’s existing liquid alternatives platform, an arena in which Calamos has been involved in for more than 20 years.
Our Quantitative/Risk Management Group are a dedicated team that furthers the risk management efforts shared across the investment organisation.
Company: Calamos Investments Web Address: http://www.calamos.com/Global/ Calamos Investments LLP 62 Threadneedle Street London EC2R 8HP Phone: +44 (0)20 3744 7010 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally we have a robust investment infrastructure, including trading and investment operations. Our “teams within a team” approach addresses the complexities of managing a range of strategies with different risk/return profiles. Our structure ensures that each portfolio management team maintains a dedicated focus on their area of expertise, without diluting their resources and contributions.
This advertisement does not constitute an offer or solicitation and should not be construed as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy shares of Calamos Global Funds plc to any persons who are prohibited from receiving such information under the laws applicable to their place of citizenship, domicile or residence. Please refer to the funds’ prospectus for more information.
Additionally, as members of the Investment Commitee, our senior investment team leaders provide a top-down framework, maintain oversight of risk and performance metrics, and evaluate investment process. In recent years, the four CO - CIO’s emerged as strong leaders and have demonstrated exceptional capabilities as they have taken on more responsibilities. The enhanced leadership structure is recognition of their contributions and the Calamos Investment Team continues to pursue outperformance across the firm’s investment strategies. The expansion of the leadership structure reflects an evolution of the Investment Team, which began with the goal of building deeper research capabilities within more specialised teams, and the firm has committed significant resources to the investment department throughout that time period.
Information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends that are based on current market conditions constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice. We believe the information provided here is reliable. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations.
Despite the expansion Calamos’ investment philosophy remains the same. Embracing a collaborative culture of “teams within the team,” we evaluate businesses strategically by blending top-down insights with rigorous bottom-up fundamental research. During the trailing 18 months, the firm’s overall investment results have shown marked improvement with many of its investment strategies outpacing benchmarks and/or peer groups.
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Arbitrator of the Month
Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo is a flourishing Indonesian legal firm offering a wide range of services. We speak to Managing Partner and Co-Founder Mohamed Idwan Ganie about the firm’s work and success.
Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo (LGS) was founded in 1985 by Timbul Thomas Lubis, Mohamed Idwan Ganie and Arief Tarunakarya Surowidjojo.
My personal expertise covers general corporate and company law, banking law, finance, bankruptcy and restructuring, mining, investment, acquisitions, infrastructure projects/project finance, antitrust, and shipping/aviation, with a particular focus on corporate governance and compliance. I am the chair of the Association of Indonesian Anti-Trust Lawyers, a member of the Regional Panel of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and a fellow (FSIarb) of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators.
Since its inception LGS has grown into the largest corporate transactions and corporate litigation firm in Indonesia. The firm has obtained Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance certifications of ISO 9001:2008 for quality management systems and ISO 14001:2004 for environmental management systems to ensure the quality of all aspects of the firm’s operations and services.
Additionally I have over 30 years of legal experience, and I specialise in commercial transactions and commercial litigation, including alternative dispute resolution and have acted as an expert in a number court and arbitration proceedings. My educational background is from the Faculty of Law at the University of Indonesia and I also hold a PhD in law from Hamburg University.
Throughout the more than three decades the firm has been working in the industry we have gained experience in representing a diverse range of clients from domestic to multinational corporations, public and private companies, to government instrumentalities and state owned enterprises. As such we always draw on this experience and work with our clients to understand their problems, determine their needs, and arrive at a practical solution that is both cost-effective and viable over the long term.
In order to ensure that our clients receive the best possible service I always draw on this vast experience and education to offer them a service which is tailored to their individual needs.
The firm’s unique selling point involves the combination of its long-standing practice of commercial law and premier litigation department with its extensive commercial dispute resolution experience in the context of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution as well as litigation in the Indonesian courts.
Looking to the future LGS will continue to build on its existing strength in corporate law and commercial dispute resolution as it works with clients to provide top service. As always, we will continue to steadily increase the headcount across our corporate law and litigation departments so as to meet the needs of our clients.
The unique strength of our unmatched combination of commercial litigation and corporate transaction expertise allows our corporate transaction departments to benefit from such litigation experience, and from their own compliance work, to ensure that any transactions handled by the firm are carried out with a view to the potential for future disputes.
Company: Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo Name: Dr. Mohamed Idwan (‘Kiki’) Ganie Position: Managing Partner Email: email@example.com Web Address: www.lgsonline.com Address: Menara Imperium 30th Floor Jl. H. R. Rasuna Said Kav. 1 Kuningan Jakarta 12980, Indonesia Telephone: +62 21 831-5005, 831-5025
To this end we review transactions and business relationships of our clients for potential issues. We strive to understand a client’s needs and the legal complexities faced by them in Indonesia’s highly dynamic legal and business landscape, translate this into a solution, and then see the successful outcome. It is this dedication to both our work and our clients which has ultimately led the firm to our success.
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
2015â€™s Most Influential Business Leaders
MadCap Software, Inc. is the leading provider of software used by technical communicators for the authoring, translation and publishing of any type of technical documentation such as knowledge bases, online Help, policy and procedure manuals, software documentation, self-service and support sites, instruction manuals and more. Anthony Olivier, Founder and CEO, provides us with fascinating insight into this dynamic and innovative software firm and explains how it has become a leader in this market space.
From inception, MadCap Software made a very poignant decision to make technical communication and content development the core focus of its software and services. Content development and management in any form, in any language and on any device is our ultimate goal and we create software products that streamline the development, publishing, and management of technical documentation.
accurate content in any format their end- users and employees need, including completely responsive and searchable online and/or mobile to high-end print brochures, books and manuals – all from the same source of content. Technical documentation and technical communication in general is not industry specific, and that in and of itself makes our market quite unique. Therefore our thousands of customers worldwide range from the world’s largest healthcare services company, McKesson Health Solutions, renowned Fortune 500 companies, to Barclays, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, General Electric, Microsoft, dozens of government agencies such as the US Army and Navy, United Nations, Commonwealth Secretariat to small businesses and sole proprietorships.
Almost all companies have some form of technical information which needs to be created and distributed to clients, end-users or employees, and it is MadCap’s role to ensure that these companies use top quality, future proof software that meets their needs and the consumers of their content. Unlike many of our competitors, we are dedicated exclusively to the content development, management and publishing needs of the technical communicator, a job title that has expanded in recent years to not only reflect the growing responsibilities of the typical users of our products, but the increased value and importance companies place on consistent and accurate content. Technical communicators are now content managers and strategists, information architects and designers, and we’re seeing user growth to also include HR professionals, policy writers, eLearning specialists and even software developers. Having a clear market focus has allowed us to explore our passion for technical documentation and to pour that passion and expertise into our products and customer support to ensure every user– from consultant to enterprise – has a positive Madcap experience. Our deep understanding of the ever-evolving needs of our customers allows us to continue to lead the industry with innovation, service and support.
In order to ensure these clients receive the best possible service we are very in tune with and closely connected with our customers and their needs. Our dedication to individual and collective growth and learning are two values that keep MadCap at the forefront of emerging developments and ahead of its competition. This is of vital importance as we develop software that is used daily by our customers, and this software has the power to create efficiency, and streamline the content development, translation and management process unlike any other tool on the market for the price. Our customer service philosophy is unmatched industrywide and is truly what sets us apart from our competition. We believe this customer support – through help guides, online forums, user groups, webinars and robust maintenance and support plans that give direct telephone and email access to the highest level of qualified technical support– is equally important to the software itself. We are committed to providing exceptional customer support to each and every customer.
Our flagship product, MadCap Flare, is used for the authoring and publishing of technical documentation and is augmented with a full set of tightly integrated technical communication and content development tools for translation, analysis, reporting and adding multimedia.
Additionally our technical support engineers are well trained and have direct access to the software engineering and product management teams, to help customers find answers to even the most challenging technical support issues. It’s because of this combined dedication with software and support that our customers are also our biggest fans and our greatest brand advocates, and equally they understand that we truly care about each and every one of them.
As a firm we are a trusted resource for the thousands of companies around the globe that rely on our technical documentation solutions. Our software is designed to make the process of creating technical, medical, HR or procedural documentation highly efficient, maximizes content re-use and allows our customers to publish consistent and
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
As a leading software company, our product is as important as our service, and as such we are always working to refine both our products and our processes and improve the experience that our users have with our software. In fact, our users are at the heart of our organization and every decision we make has the end-user in mind. Our deep understanding of our customer’s challenges, their needs from an operation and efficiency perspective and the way they need their end users to consume the content helps to inform the decisions we make in terms of our strategy and product implementation. Our tools are based on online web standards such as XML (Extensible Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML5 and we strive to stay on top of the most modern authoring and documentation delivery technologies to maximize the authoring efficiency of our users. Whether technical writers, documentation specialists, information architects or content strategists, we are committed to leading the content creation, management and delivery frontier. We offer a wide range of additional services including product training, consulting services, translation and localization, and an advanced developer certification program. Headquartered in La Jolla, California, MadCap Software is home to some of the most experienced software architects and product experts in the industry. Moving forward we have a number of exciting plans for the future of the company as we look towards 2016. As an industry leader, Madcap Software continues to surpass targets and to achieve double-digit growth year-over-year. At the start of 2015, we were thrilled to acquire Component One Doc-To-Help, an authoring and publishing solution that now allows us to offer the same benefits of maximizing content re-use and multi-channel publishing to those customers who prefer to use Microsoft® Word™ as their content creation tool. Additionally we are always looking to improve the content creation, delivery and management process available to content developers and technical communicators and will continue to foster relationships with those in the industry. We will continue to grow market share and expand our offerings into adjacent and overlapping areas of content development, whether it be through innovation, integration and/or acquisition. Alongside our own growth we are always keen to support our industry, and to this end we have donated millions of dollars’ worth of our software to more than 100 universities and learning institutions worldwide as we are dedicated to continuing education and providing students that are studying technical communication with the products and skills needed to ensure success as they enter the workforce. We are proud to be investing in the future of the technical communication industry and plan to continue to foster these existing professor and student relationships as well as continue to expand these in the coming years. Company: MadCap Software Inc Name: Anthony Olivier Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Address: http://www.madcapsoftware.com/ Address: 7777 Fay Avenue, Suite 210 La Jolla, CA 92037 Telephone: +1 (858) 320-0387
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Ones to Watch 2016
Simon-Kucher & Partners Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global management consulting firm with 800 employees in 30 offices worldwide. We speak to Partner Wei Ke who provides us with a unique insight into the firm and highlights why they are worthy of attention as we move into the New Year.
Simon-Kucher & Partners focus on product, pricing, marketing, and sales strategies. Founded in 1985, we have 30 years of experience and are regarded as the world’s leading pricing advisor.
last 30 years. For example, we can claim credit on innovative pricing models that help companies in various industries catapult themselves to leaders in the industry, as well as advances in pricing psychology research in behavioural economics.
My role as a Partner in the firm involves leading Simon-Kucher’s banking practice in North America and am also responsible for the management of our Toronto office. In my current role, I primarily serve our banking and financial services clients in the US and Canada. Our clients span retail banking, commercial banking, and private banking/ wealth management sectors.
Moving forward we have a number of exciting plans as we move into the New Year. Over the last 30 years, Simon-Kucher has achieved a unique positioning that has made it successful – and we aim to keep it that way. We are constantly monitoring market developments and how they affect our consulting activities with one central question in mind: How can we continue to sustainably increase our clients’ profits in the future?
Within my area of expertise, private banking and wealth management, we have served almost all major global private banks and wealth management firms in defining their product and pricing strategies to plug value gaps and to meet regulatory demands. Our global competence centre on private banking and wealth management is based in Zurich, Switzerland, and is led by Jan Engelke and Petra Knuesel.
Our projects have always been geared toward delivering pragmatic solutions that can be implemented quickly. We have been developing innovative revenue models for three decades and we are considered the world leaders in this field. It is our standard practice to work closely with our clients through the implementation phase: As operative assistants, sparring partners and coaches – our work does not end with the presentation of a new concept. We help our clients achieve their full potential and as an independent consultancy, we will continue to recommend only what they really need. We will not rest until our clients are at the top.
Pricing is the firm’s primary specification, and in this area we are a global leader. When people think of “pricing,” there tends to be a very narrow focus on setting price levels or price points. Our work on pricing is much broader than this, and starts by working with the C-suite and senior management of the client organization to define its pricing strategy, before moving on to tactical price model and price level optimization topics. Indeed, our annual Global Pricing Survey shows successful organizations almost always treat pricing as a C-level agenda item. We also support our clients on pricing execution, including discount discretion management and negotiation/sales excellence.
We are currently considered “category leaders” in the field of pricing, marketing and sales consulting. As global specialists, we want to continue to grow well above the consulting industry average. By 2020, we expect to double our revenue to reach 400 million euros. In many industries and countries, we are just getting started. The potential is immense.
Our philosophy to pricing is “Value Pricing” – balancing the value our customers receives in a product or service with the price they pay. At its core, our view is built on understanding customer needs and preferences, followed by designing the appropriate product/service offering and pricing strategy to meet those needs.
Company: Simon-Kucher & Partners Name: Wei Ke, Partner Email: email@example.com Web Address: www.simon-kucher.com Toronto office: 2 Bloor St W, Suite 1902, Toronto, Ontario M4W 3R1, Canada New York office: 17 State St, 37th Floor, New York, NY 10004, USA Tel.: +1 212 537 0770
Our competitive edge lies in the constant drive for methodological innovation and the experiences we have built across industries over the
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Commodities Investment Manager of the Month
In an interview with AI Global Media, Stephen Smethurst CEO and CIO of Zafiro Capital based in Geneva Switzerland says that after working for others for the past 22 years he felt the need for a change and to go out on his own. Having made millions for his previous employers, he felt if would not only be fun but also a huge challenge to run his own investment firm. “I am convinced the information, contacts and skills gained over time can be used to the great advantage of Zafiro and our clients” he reveals.
“In Geneva we start with top down bottom up research on the main commodity markets” Smethurst explains. “The analysts and myself, using the best research available and our own supply demand models, develop trade ideas. We consider which commodity markets are set for deficits or oversupply for the year/s ahead and work to take advantage of this information. We also employ CTA and systematic models so we are aware of how the CTA systematic funds are likely to act. While monitoring technical and momentum triggers we also closely watch the general macro environment.”
Zafiro Capital Sarl’s Investment Manager’s extensive experience in commodities markets provides the organisation not only with invaluable knowledge and understanding of the target market areas, “but also a ready-made network of contacts in the industry throughout the globe” reveals Smethurst. “Our extensive network within the commodity sector gives us excellent insight to market intelligence, sourcing trade ideas and macro views” he adds. Overview of the global commodities market today Giving an overview of the global commodities market today, Smethurst believes that China has been the main driver of commodity prices over the past 10 years. “It is clear that the China economy for the past 2-3 years has been cooling as they move from an industrial led economy to a consumer led economy” Smethurst reveals. “But even so growth of 6-7% is still impressive compared to the Eurozone. This sharp recent decline in growth has led to dramatic declines in the prices of iron ore, oil, coal and base metals” he adds.
His partner in the business is Tony Simmonds, Zafiro Capital Sarl’s CFO and COO. From the London office Tony oversees supplier relationships, finance and operational matters. “Our strategy is to concentrate on investing and trading in exchange traded commodity futures, along with a smaller involvement in exchange traded options on commodity futures” reveals Stephen Smethurst. “The use of options may often be employed to protect the portfolio from the possibility of exogenous economic, geopolitical and weather events, while it can also be used to take advantage of the potential for incalculable volatility events during times of political or seasonal-weather related uncertainty.”
“However, other commodities like gasoline are showing 15% year on year demand growth in China as the sale of cars continues its relentless pace (up 24% y/y). This has led to gasoline substantially outperforming crude.”
Smethurst anticipates that the majority of their risk (around 70%) will be in energy, and the remaining 30% will be split between base and precious metals, and agricultural commodities. However, they may make use of diversified strategies if the appropriate opportunity arises.
“Crude oil remains fundamentally oversupplied (in 2015 by almost 2mnbpd) and with Iran likely to come back next year at first the outlook is incredibly bleak. However, this has to be balanced against Saudi production slowing as they fail to find buyers for their oil with storage almost full. This coupled with natural field declines of around 5-7% per year and US production falling by 300kbd from mid-June (this figure is likely to increase to 700-800kbd in 2016) may mean that we see significant petroleum stock draws as soon as 2017. However, these shortages may occur sooner if the proposed deal between Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC to stabilize the price of oil progresses. At the current rate we expect the market to be oversupplied by 500k-1mn bpd next year without Saudi/OPEC/non-OPEC action.”
Stephen expects the portfolio to display a macro theme from time to time. “It will be specifically designed to contain a heavy weighting of micro-reasoned positions to create diversity and de-correlation from other managers, strategies and the overall macro environment. Directional strategies are initiated to follow the current fundamental trends or are designed to take advantage of a perceived long-term change in a particular market” he adds. “Research is fundamental to the Investment Manager in identifying the right trades to make, and to that end we use the best external data and research, provided by a multitude of industry leaders such as Bloomberg, Reuters, GFMS, Energy Aspects and Lanworth” says Smethurst. We have rigorously sought after and sourced the best third party providers in the industry to act as our custodian, prime brokers, auditors, legal counsels and administrator. With these, we hope to deliver high quality, efficient and transparent investment services to our investors” he continues.
“Obviously the move to a low carbon economy is a big risk to recovering oil prices but the economies in the emerging markets are still growing strongly especially in countries like India, Indonesia, Vietnam and even China. One thing that is clear is if prices do rally we will see a supply response from the USA so it will be a massive challenge to see $100 oil again for the medium term. Most of the largest oil producers we follow closely are bunkering down for a prolonged period of low prices sub $60 dollars. While we agree with that short term, Saudi/OPEC/non-OPEC could combine to immediately tighten the supply demand balance and cause a big shock.”
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
“One of the strongest EL Niño for decades is also creating havoc with weather events and droughts that is driving soft commodity markets. We have seen sharp rallies in prices of cocoa and sugar recently and coffee now is beginning to also look susceptible to a price spike. On many commodities we are seeing commodity producers suffering from previous years of huge capital expenditure to meet demand from countries like China which has failed to materialize. Now miners and refiners are faced with oversupply, a lack of demand and in many cases prices trading below costs of production. These things will take time to work through. There will be more bankruptcies, temporary shutdowns and closures, stronger demand from lower prices and with time the markets will of course balance. Some commodities will take years whereas in some markets it might only take several quarters. For us it offers opportunities more so on the long side right now with the commodity indexes at multi year lows. The skill is to identify which commodities have room to improve and which will stay depressed or may even decline further in the years to come.”
What makes Zafiro Capital Sarl unique and what distinguishes it from its competitors asks AI Global Media. “We are asset specific and focused. We do commodities and nothing else. We do not look to start trading other asset classes like equities or bonds where we will be exposed to style drift” reveals Smethurst. “We think we know commodities better than most other people out there and our network of contacts built up over 22 years is second to none. We look to listen to both sides of the argument on price from both end users, producers and the middle men, the traders and storage companies. Ob-viously everyone has a valid argument but our skill is to distinguish what will really drive the price going forward. Systematics funds are huge and have a dramatic effect on markets but at the end of the day if a physical market becomes vastly oversupplied or tight no one is bigger than the market. Our small size enables us to be nimble and dynamic, multi-billion dollar funds simply cannot compete with our agility. Our fees are competitive and we focus on performance related fees with management fees solely to cover our operational expenses” he continues.
Staying at the forefront of emerging developments When working in an industry that is constantly changing, AI Global Media posed the question of what Zafiro Capital Sarl does to ensure that they are at the forefront of any emerging developments? “We have to be active, nimble and extremely diligent. Most recently we have been considering the impacts of a move to a low carbon economy. How this will affect the drive for renewables and how much pressure it will put on more traditional sources of power.”
The future Finally, what does the future hold for Zafiro Capital Sarl and what are their plans for 2016 and beyond? “I believe the future looks bright, many commodity funds have closed over the past 3 years due to redemptions and poor performance. At some point I believe money will start to return to the sector in a big way as markets start to tighten up and returns improve” Smethurst says.
“This involves considering the huge amounts of oil needed for the aviation and shipping industries as well as considering the capital expenditure being invested by some of the large motor companies in electric cars and the dramatic progress over the last 5 years in battery efficiency. To take advantage of some of these shifts we have been investing most recently in EUA Carbon Credits but have also followed closely the demand for metals such as Nickel, Tin and Silver.”
“With commodity indexes at multi year lows we are also considering launching a discretionary long only commodity strategy but making decisions based on our fundamental analysis to identify commodities that we want to own.” Investment Manager Disclaimer. No guarantee or representation is made that the investment program, including, without limitation, the investment objectives, diversification strategies, or risk monitoring goals, of any strategy mentioned above will be successful, and investment results may vary substantially over time. Investment losses may occur from time to time. Nothing herein is intended to imply that Zafiro Capital’s investment methodology may be considered “conservative”, “safe”, “risk free” or “risk averse”. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT INDICATIVE NOR A GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS. NO ASSURANCE CAN BE MADE THAT PROFITS WILL BE ACHIEVED OR THAT SUBSTANTIAL LOSSES WILL NOT BE INCURRED.
“More generally it is important to stay up to date with any developments that are likely to affect our portfolio. This may be in the form of the current Climate Conference or the recent VW scandal. The latter will certainly shift demand away from diesel to both gasoline and electric cars. This will be a negative for platinum but bullish for palladium as platinum is used mostly in diesel catalysts whereas palladium is used more in gasoline catalytic converters. However, if the price of the two precious metals converges switching may then start to occur. Stricter emissions standards may also require more platinum and more technology in motor vehicles” he continues.
The representative in Switzerland is Hugo Fund Services SA, 6 Cours de Rive, 1204 Geneva. The distribution in Switzerland must exclusively be made to qualified investors. The place of performance for Shares distributed in Switzerland is at the registered office of the Representative
The firm’s culture Smethurst then lifted the lid on the culture within his firm and the things he does to maintain and develop it. How does it influence his interactions with and results achieved for your clients? “Zafiro is an entrepreneurial company. We strive for success for our clients. Obviously we will not get it right every day but the aim is to make sure our trades are well reasoned and of sound judgement with detailed analysis and reasoning” he reveals. “Together with transparency with our clients we hope to install confidence and clarity into what we are doing and looking to achieve. Our first year +23.1% gross performance has shown we know what we are doing and as long as we stick to our game plan we should be able to repeat that success going forward. We have capacity right now and we are seeking investment” he adds.
The Investment Manager is not currently subject to supervision by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (“FINMA”). The Investment Manager is a member of ARIF, a self-regulatory body in charge of the fight against anti-money laundering and recognised by FINMA.
Company: Zafiro Capital Sarl Name: Stephen Smethurst CIO and CEO / Tony Simmonds COO / CFO Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Address:www.zafiro-capital.com Address: 80-84 Rue du Rhone, 1204, Geneva, Switzerland. Telephone: +4122 519 0536
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Growth in UK M&A Appetite â€“ a Risky Business?
According to recent KPMG forecasts, appetite for M&A deals in the UK over the next 12 months is expected to outstrip both the US and the rest of Europe (with appetite in the UK, based on forward price/earnings ratios, expected to increase by 13%, compared to just 6% in the US and 8% in the rest of Europe).
Minimising the risks: practical considerations 1. Heads of terms to be reviewed by parties’ legal counsel at an early stage Parties will often involve their lawyers in a deal once the heads of terms have been negotiated and agreed. However, the advantages of involving legal counsel at an earlier stage, whilst these discussions are still taking place, should not be overlooked. Involving lawyers (or at least enabling them to have sight of the draft heads of terms) will help to ensure that the key contractual provisions are considered and dealt with at the outset, particularly those most likely to result in future dispute, for example the nature of the warranties given (and how these relate to any relevant warranty and indemnity insurance, to the extent taken out) and any termination rights to be granted between exchange and completion.
With deal teams often working to incredibly tight schedules to “get the deal done”, we look at the risks associated with accelerated negotiations from a UK contract law perspective, focusing particularly on recent case law which suggests that courts have little sympathy for parties trying to step back from a bad bargain post-completion, and the practical steps that parties should take in order to minimise these risks. The risks of a rushed deal: a UK contract law perspective When faced with recent disputes over the terms of commercial contracts, the courts have proved unwilling to sympathise with parties who have been unwise in their negotiations, instead making it clear that they will not apply commercial common sense simply to rewrite a bad bargain (Arnold v Britton  UKSC 36; Wood v Sureterm  EWCA Civ 839). This marks a subtle but significant shift by the courts, who traditionally stressed the importance of commercial common sense as an aid to contractual interpretation, leading some commentators to criticise what they perceived to be the erosion of the line between merely interpreting a contract and effectively altering it (Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society  1 WLR 896; Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd  1 AC 1101; Rainy Sky SA v Kookmin Bank  UKSC 50).
2. Beware of “agreements to agree” Where parties enter into fast-paced negotiations with a view to completing a deal within a tight timeframe, key provisions can sometimes be left “to be agreed on later”. Particular care needs to be taken with this approach as “agreements to agree” are generally unenforceable under English law (Walford & Others v Miles & Another  AC 128). However, where parties can identify certain specific aspects of a deal that are to be negotiated post-completion, it may be possible to draft the relevant contractual provisions so as to minimise the risk that they will be unenforceable. For example, the following provisions were found by the courts to be sufficiently certain to be enforceable: (i) an undertaking to negotiate in good faith the amount of certain “reasonable costs” payable (Petromec Inc Petro Deep Societa Armamento Navi Appoggio SpA v Petroleo Brasileiro SA  EWCA Civ 891); (ii) a time limited obligation to seek to resolve a dispute by “friendly discussions” prior to referring the dispute to arbitration (Emirates Trading Agency LLC v Prime Mineral Exports Private Ltd  EWHC 2104 (Comm)).
Specifically, in the case of Arnold v Britton, the Supreme Court held that when interpreting a contract, commercial common sense must not undercut the importance of the actual words used and cannot be invoked retrospectively. The court’s view was that “the mere fact that a contractual arrangement, if interpreted according to its natural language, has worked out badly, or even disastrously, for one of the parties is not a reason for departing from the natural language”. This is not to say that commercial common sense will not be applied by the courts, but that lesser weight may be given to it, with the courts favouring the natural meaning of the words used, regardless of whether or not this results in a bad bargain.
3. All contractual terms should be clear on the face of the document When it comes to drafting the relevant transaction documents, parties and their lawyers should opt for clear, simple drafting, rather than multi-layered, heavily-negotiated wording. Given (i) the recent shift away from commercial common sense as an aid to contractual interpretation, (ii) the difficulty in persuading a court to imply a contractual term, and (iii) the fact that previous negotiations between the parties are generally inadmissible when courts are asked to consider a contractual dispute, the parties should ensure that all of the relevant terms of the contract are clear on the face of it.
Similarly, the courts have re-enforced in recent cases their reluctance to imply terms into a contract simply to make it a fairer one, instead choosing to uphold the principle of freedom of contract, implying terms only where necessary, rather than reasonable (Attorney General of Belize v Belize Telecom Ltd  UKPC 10; Rosserland Consultants Ltd v Credit Suisse International  EWHC 384 (Ch)).
Joanne Maitland is an associate at international law firm Mayer Brown
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Hedge Fund Manager of the Year - UK
Macro Currency Group The Macro Currency Group (MCG) is a global macro and currency specialist, offering a range of absolute return products to the hedge fund, liquid alternatives and traditional currency overlay space. We spoke to Mark Farrington, Head of Macro Currency Group at Principal Global Investors, to find out more about their truly innovative investment process. MCG have a highly diverse set of clients, which range from public to private sector, pension funds and mutual funds. These funds are particularly aimed at generating surge returns at cycle turning points and delivering true alpha returns uncorrelated to traditional betas like equities, credit and commodities. As traditional global macro historically provided, MCG has delivered its strongest performance in years of crisis and poor beta asset class returns (1997, 2000, 2004, 2008 and again in 2015). Equally, MCG has delivered a continuously uncorrelated return profile to other hedge funds and currency managers.
for the clients. “While the industry is fast moving and many fund-style trends have changed, MCG has positioned itself firmly in the global macro space and waited for cycle changes to favour our style. Our return history is incredibly consistent with very little style drift over 18 years. This has meant that our style is sometimes out of favour, particularly during trend overshoots, however, eventually the trends reverse and call in demand for fundamentally-driven global macro managers like MCG.” When working with clients, a rigorous process is undertaken to ensure that they minimise risk and maximise returns. As Farrington explains: “For our institutional clients, the level of risk and volatility is established in advance through the drafting of an investment management agreement,” says Farrington. “Institutional mandates are customised to exactly match the risk objectives of the client. For our hedge fund vehicles, volatility targets are discussed, as a matter of course, with each potential investor before any allocation is made as part of the vehicle’s due diligence process. Our hedge fund strategies target a volatility level similar to that of (long-term) equity volatility, a profile that most investors are comfortable with and that enables us to target a return of around 10% p.a. consistent with return objectives of many UCITs investors.”
MCG’s success, according to Farrington, is primarily down to their forward-thinking investment strategy. “The primary distinguishing characteristics of our investment style are our adaptability and forward looking nature,” says Farrington. “We constantly identify forward looking investment themes which yield a return which is consistent, yet uncorrelated to the traditional FX styles such as trend, valuation and carry. “Our investment team and strategy are singularly geared toward not missing the big cycle moves,” added Farrington. “We have built a culture that consistently stays vigilant on this front. At our firm, we have created a culture with a natural instinct to distrust consensus, and to not accept the simple explanations of things. Investors in current market conditions are exposed to information overload, which means that the challenge has shifted from collecting difficult to obtain information to organising, analysing and seeing through complex data patterns to underlying signals amid a plethora of publicly available information. At MCG we’ve built a culture of effective ‘horizon scanning’ and this will be the key to our continued success.”
In terms of their company culture, MCG has always sought to build a team with complementary skills. The company covers over 30 countries and analyse relative asset class performance across a broad spectrum of risk assets. “Such a breadth of coverage requires skills and educational backgrounds that can provide both specialist insight and broad global macro understanding,” says Farrington. “As a result, we recruit staff that has a strong specialist starting point and a particular career interest in developing a broader global macro skillset.”
Prior to MCG, Farrington has a wealth of experience in the funds industry, which he believes has added value to his current role. “My previous experience as a fund manager in the asset management industry was with BT Funds Management, which I joined in 1997. BT Funds Management was the international funds management division of Bankers Trust Company, and was located in Sydney Australia. For BT, I managed Asian sovereign bonds funds, was part of the Asset Allocation Committee that managed global balance funds, and was portfolio manager of absolute return currency funds”.
Looking towards 2016 and beyond, Farrington is optimistic about the future of his company. “Our fundamental discretionary style has been successfully translated to dynamic hedging and alternative global growth strategies. Both of the strategies allow investors to mitigate risks in their international currency exposures while gaining additional return otherwise untapped if currency exposures are either ignored or left unchanged in their underlying portfolio. The strategies can be used on a standalone basis or combined with our traditional currency alpha approach, therefore catering for different investor preferences, all within a single specialist group.”
“I’ve enjoyed a unique career in global markets spending nine years in Japan, two in Singapore, seven in Sydney and the last twelve in London. Additionally, I have also covered emerging markets from the beginning of their emergence in the mid-1980s.”
Company: Macro Currency Group, investment boutique of Principal Global Investors Name: Mark Farrington, Head of Macro Currency Group Email: email@example.com Web Address: www.macrocurrencygroup.com Address: 103, Mount Street, W1K 2TJ, London Telephone: +44 (0)20 7710 0245
Despite the fact that the hedge fund industry is constantly evolving, MCG have very much stuck to their own style, which Farrington believes has been the driving force behind them consistently achieving positive results
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
Private Equity Fund Manager of the Month
a2e Venture Catalysts Ltd a2e describe their operations as closely resembling those of a traditional London Merchant Bank. However, what separates them from these financial institutions is their entrepreneurial perspective and ethos as well as their distinctive focus on investing in and acquiring under-performing mid-market industrial and family businesses. We spoke to Amin Amiri, Founder and CEO of a2e Venture Catalysts, to find out more.
a2e aims to revitalise businesses by enabling and empowering managers to succeed and subsequently share the rewards. With this in mind, they endeavour to provide an inclusive investment model fit for the 21st century, which is applied with great passion and integrity.
“I found this to be a distinct and an unusually niche market,” says Amiri. “The businesses we focus on often need decisive action to be “saved”, and the biggest challenges are often the attitude of the incumbent owners and/or managers. However, if they are pragmatic and realistic, we can invest and create wealth for all shareholders.
“At first, I actually founded a2e to manage my personal plans and ambitions as well as investing in and acquiring underperforming mid-market industrial businesses,” says Amiri. “This was set up with a view to revitalise them, turn them round and create wealth.”
“One of the major challenges in our industry is that many of these owners/managers often rely on business brokers or “off the cuff” advisers, with insufficient expertise or independence of mind,” says Amiri. “At times, this is manifested in unrealistic expectations resulting in chronic stagnation and eventual extinction. However, the opportunities are great as the number of such businesses needing help or the “a2e treatment” are in great demand.”
In terms of his experience and qualifications, Amin is a graduate and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and completed an Executive MBA at the prestigious Harvard Business School. He then experienced at first hand the potency of the capital markets in New York, handling corporate finance advisory assignments in the US, South America, Moscow, Belgrade and London.
As a company that works in an industry that is always evolving, a2e are constantly looking at any emerging developments or trends that they are presented with. “In our niche segment of the funding scene, the sources of debt funds and their criterion are constantly changing. In order to keep abreast of any changes, we maintain close contact with our selected and loyal band of funders and at the same time keenly watch market developments.”
Amin returned to the UK in 1991 and as head of Grant Thornton Corporate Finance in the North, where here he developed their team in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds from small beginnings to national recognition and profitability. His innovation and flair in deal making, in the course of completing 200 or so transactions with a value of over £1.5 Billion, earned him a high profile in the UK.
In terms of the culture in their company, a2e have a highly motivated team where they are constantly striving to achieve results for their clients. “We inspire the people within the business and help them develop a shared strategic vision and a road map to wealth creation, tailored to the business’ strengths,” Amiri explains. “Wealth is created by empowering the managers to invest in and upgrade the business’ fundamentals as well as create sustainable competitive edges fit for the global marketplace. We create an alignment of objectives with the managers and other stakeholders by sharing the rewards and we are cognisant of preserving the best features of a business including the loyalty of the people.”
“It was this coal face experience that made me realise the great potential that exists within the “neglected” mid-market industrial sector,” says Amiri. “In actual fact, this sector contributes to a large proportion of the UK’s GDP, and the private equity and financial institution industry have no real focus on this area.” Since the firm’s inception in 2001, a2e has distinctly embraced investing in and acquiring mid-market industrial and manufacturing businesses. The firm has focused on special situations for these businesses such as turnarounds, stagnant businesses, shareholder conflicts or exits, financial distress and businesses poised for substantial growth.
Wealth & Finance International | December 2015
As a business leader, Amiri ensures that the values of his company permeate throughout the entire business. “When recruiting, we hire the best people available and often see them in action beforehand,” says Amiri. “Furthermore, our strong ethos reverberates and is demonstrated through everything we do and is led by example from the top.” More specifically, a2e has a number of guidelines that help underpin the company’s ethos. Firstly, rewards are shared with all of those who were involved in creating wealth. Secondly, key managers acquire shares alongside Amiri, participate in developing their vision for the business and have the freedom of thought and operation. Also fundamental to their philosophy is that they will not invest in businesses involved in products and services causing known harm to humans, exploitation of third world labour, unnecessary suffering of animals and any unacceptable/immoral practices. Lastly, but certainly not least, they are transparent and involve “stakeholders” in key decisions. Alongside their ethos, Amiri believes that there are a number of aspects of their business that makes them unique. “One of most distinguishing features is our three pronged approach to “revitalising” a business. This is an astute strategic assessment and alignment of the key fundamentals of success. We have found that an entrepreneurial deployment of our own funds and a robust management/execution methodology has achieved unrivalled success. “Moreover, it is our enabling ethos and expertise that brings together the three pillars of success, in terms of strategic expertise, funds to invest and execution capability in a co-ordinated fashion. Additionally, our ability to act decisively, effectively and speedily, significantly differentiates us from others.” As well as these attributes, Amiri believes that they can unlock the potential, preserve and enhance wealth by deploying their entrepreneurial flair, as augmented by a high level of expertise and involvement. “We see great opportunity in this challenging and contrarian niche that we work in, and is an area that very few others dare to get involved in.” Looking further down the road, Amiri is enthusiastic that their firm will continue to succeed. “We look to 2016 with confidence, but without any complacency. We have three acquisitions lined up for the early part of the year, following which our focus will shift to developing our portfolio companies and enhancing shareholder value. We intend to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of a2e’s operation in March and unveil the new logo and website and strategy for the next 5 years.” Company: a2e Venture Catalysts Limited Name: Amin Amiri Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web Address: www.a2evc.com Address: No. 1 Marsden Street, Manchester, M2 1HW Telephone: 0161 923 6000